These days we are encouraged to be mindful…of our actions, our environment and our time. But what is mindfulness? According to Dictionary.com, mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Or “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
We praise ourselves for our masterful multitasking skills, but are we really helping ourselves? Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. Paying attention. It allows you to move beyond distractions that can cause you to not meet the goals you have set for yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to move in slow motion, but rather be aware of what is going in and around you throughout the day. Being aware of how you act and react. How we spend time with others. How we handle ourselves throughout the day at work and home.
Being mindful has helped make people more resilient, help regulate stress, be more productive and increase our ability to focus. As we go through the busy summer season, where we are simultaneously running in 10 different directions, approaching tasks and life with a mindful attitude can help us get through and enjoy the season much more.
Creative thinking is essential in our industry. As a studio owner, time where your mind can wander without interruption is a gift! Scheduling time to “just be” and think allows your mind to roam and come up with ideas, creative insight and solutions. This works only when you cut yourself off from social media and those little handheld devices that make our lives “easier”.
Get to work early so you have time to get focused on what you need to accomplish. Spending 10 minutes focusing on your breathing to bring calm to your mind and body. There’s a reason we’re told to take a few deep breaths before we fire off a remark or respond to an unfavorable comment on social media. Try a meditation app such as Headspace, Insight Timer or Calm to get started. Once you’ve relaxed and refocused, you’ll be better to able to efficiently and effectively tackle the tasks on your to do list.
Remember Your Purpose
Especially in this business where some people lose their mind over the smallest of things, having a calm mind with the knowledge of why you are in this business and what your business means to your community can help you get through the roughest of days. If only, we could bottle mindfulness and mix it into a bottle of glaze so every project turns out exactly like the customer wanted!
Embrace the Hold
What happens when you go into a coffee shop and wait in line? Nine out of 10 people are on their phones. Our attention spans have dwindled down to that of 1 second more than a goldfish. Take advantage of that boring, quiet time and let your mind wander. Take in what is around you, breathe and just be.
Clear the Mind on Paper
The Artist’s Way and The Artist’s Way at Work books/group study asks readers to engage writing Morning Pages. This exercise consists of participants writing three pages of unedited, stream-of-consciousness words each morning. Some people find that their journal entries were about work, others about personal life and some about what they are feeling in the environment around them. Whatever words come out, the intended result is for the mind of the writer to be clearer after the practice. You could also write at night to help clear your mind before bed and reset your brain for the next day.
Exercise and mindfulness go together like mac and cheese. While they work nicely alone, how much better are they when in tandem. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to exercise before or after work, take a 10-15 minute walk around the parking lot. The break will help clear your mind and help you refocus when you get back inside.
Taking a break to refocus on what you’re doing next is beneficial for when you leave the studio, too. Making time to refocus will help you to truly enjoy spending time with your family or friends. If we’re always checking email or constantly obsessing about work, we’re not making the most of our time with loved ones. Isn’t the ability to create your own schedule a big part of what having your own business is all about?